If there’s anything R.A.P. Ferreira can claim it’s his ability to be poetically verbose. His words, sewn together like a tapestry of similes & metaphors alone, are artistic abstract constructs that are fascinating and hold one’s attention from song to song. Ferreira just released The Light Emitting Diamond Cutter Scriptures (Ruby Yacht), filled with eleven songs that go deeper than the deepest Jacques Cousteau has ever been. Throughout the collection of tracks, they bounce heavily and while Ferreira utilizes a few producers – Argov, Brainweight, Brendan Carosellli, Pink Navel, and others – the album is cohesiveness through its delicate thickness. As the album attests, R.A.P. Ferreira will rap forever.
Lately, we’ve all seen the resurgence of the ‘Coldwave’ subgenre, dubbed so back in the 70s but in all honestly, the name by any other is just a name. For the layman, it may encompass a variety of sounds but in this case, I’m not sure if it fits since there is no minimalistic approach taken. In fact, England’s The KVB – comprised of Nicholas Wood & Kat Day – offers so much more with Unity (Invada Records), its sixth(!) studio release.
The KVB presents itself as an electronic outfit but its guitar drive and swirling psychedelia encapsulate a variety of sounds wistfully embodying styles throughout decades. Make no mistake though, performing and recording with one another since 2010, Wood and Day have honed their collective musical skills so well, their contemporaries would be hard-pressed to match The KVB in songwriting and delivery. While the 10 tracks on Unity seem to fly right by, it isn’t because the band has created background music, that would be far from the truth. Instead, its created songs throughout here that are catchy and poignant and demands reverence.
From the opening “Sunrise Over Concrete,” the eerie yet beautiful kaleidoscope of sound cascades all around, swirling with imagery, setting the tone for the album of what’s to follow. But don’t get me wrong here, The KVB plays in a number of sandboxes, moving from electronic dance culture to enthralling post-punk, all the while keeping firm hold of its identity. “Unité,” moves with an edgy slinkiness as keys bounce, fitting it with an electronic bottom end. Day’s vocals are accentuated with Wood’s, and the harmonies are silky & smooth. “Unbound” follows as Wood takes the lead. It’s deceiving, offering an electronic fervor but its infectious pop delivery and dynamic guitar shift moves differently altogether. It’s exciting enough to exclaim “hell yes!”
There’s something quite wonderous about The KVB, and that’s its unquenchable urge to change its musical perspective from song to song. The hypnotic “Ideal Living” remarkably challenges listeners with just a few notes as the track makes a move to make us believe a gradual crescendo head our way but never does. Nothing is lost here though because of how it mesmerizes. But it’s “Structural Index” that I seem to find myself attracted to. The band layers its sound here, and the repetitive percussive beat snaps hard as keyboard tones wrap themselves all around this track. It’s fascinating and inviting at the same time. And this leads us to “Lumens,” a catchy electro-dance track fitted with guitars in the background where you’ll find yourself immersed in.
In case you’re still wondering, Unity is that album that may surprise listeners and land The KVB a new set of fans on this side of the Atlantic. Make no mistake here, once the needle hits, we’ll all be dancing along.
There are musicians we lose touch with on occasion and it’s usually for no one particular reason, it just happens. Sometimes it just so happens we may not hear from an artist for almost a decade because well, a much-needed hiatus is needed to handle other priorities. We can pull from a wide array of reasons but again, it could be for more than one reason.
While many may know of her as the bassist for Eric’s Trip, some of us know her as something altogether different. It’s been years since I heard any new music by Julie Doiron but I do remember holding her 2000 self-titled Julie Doiron & the Wooden Stars in high regards. There were albums that followed obviously but after 2012’s So Many Days, I lost track. There were some collaborative efforts with musicians on other projects, but it’s been some time since Doiron released a proper solo effort. That’s changed this week as we see the release of I Thought Of You (You’ve Changed Records), Doiron’s first solo album in 9 years. Although it’s been almost a decade, Julie Doiron still crafts quite the enchanting pop song. While songs are pretty direct in delivery and song structure, they also evoke an innocence as Doiron offers maturity, clarity, and above all, honesty throughout her album. With “You Gave Me The Key,” Julie Doiron may be offering up that honesty getting a fresh start all over again. The realism in her words is accentuated by the music, filled with backing harmonies, driving guitar lines, and a punchy rhythm. Well, she’s here again and wants everyone to know. The song is followed by “Thought Of You,” where she explores lost friendships and relationships as the music takes its lead from the previous track, direct and right out of the gate. But there’s another side to Doiron, a more reserved version of herself. The softer “Dreamed I Was” she sings lightly, accompanied by guitars and nothing else is needed or matters for the fact except Doiron and her words, wrapped around her nocturnal visions. It’s her unique delivery that’s so inviting here and on “Good Reason,” a track moving mid-tempo where she sings of a meeting of minds & hearts with a little indirection. Her voice here rises and falls in the best of ways. If there’s one place I find myself falling freely within, it’s in “The Letters We Sent.” This is where magic happens; filled with melancholy as she sings with no regrets, leaving herself open. And the music! Oh, the emotion within the music itself is captured. It’s haunting.
Yes, it’s true. Julie Doiron is back and I Thought Of You delivers at every turn, giving listeners a multitude of reasons to listen to this album from start to end.
Moments come when & where groups wear their influences on their sleeves and are pretty vocal about it. And while listeners may recognize those similarities within the nuance, shadows may cast vague facsimiles and that’s somewhere a group never wants to find itself in. California’s Fawns of Love is the husband/wife duo of singer Jenny Andreotti and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Andreotti and the duo has the good fortune & talent to be greater than their influences.
The band has released its third full-length, Innocence Of Protection (Kingfisher Bluez) and while Jenny’s airy & contemplative delivery may have similarities to Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser, the tone of Fawns of Love’s music is so much more endearing. Yes, I’m sure I’ll be lambasted for the heresy but while I’m quite familiar with the band’s influence on music, I’ve never held the Twins in high regard at the slightest. The difference with Fawns is the ability to incorporate so much more into its sound and where it can be heard clearly is the driving “Taboo Daydreaming,” with its Peter Hook-inspired bass drive. The band clearly dives headfirst into nostalgia with feet firmly footed within the present although the song unwittingly mines terrain it may not even realize as it moves with a freestyle fervor. Its rhythm is unmistakable, but Fawns of Love make it its own with a personality that is derivative unto itself. Yes, it’s that track you’ll find stuck on repeat, again and again. But it’s “In Between Maddening” that shifts in style from one moment to the next, or so one might think but meshes ideas together as it runs concurrently. It’s genius with Jenny’s ethereal vocals layered over quick rhythms, merging styles together.
The band chops together electro-rhythmic beats on “Thoughtless Rage” with the atmosphere of melody supporting Jenny’s vocals but it’s key-driven bassline that’s infectious and hypnotic at the same time. The song moves swiftly with concise precision. This is where I find myself most of the time, that is until being hit with the haunting “Memory Triggers.” The song is edged in melancholia and here Jenny seems to challenge herself more, with an evocative delivery.
Innocence of Protection has so much to offer as the band makes its way through “Suburban Waves,” a track that can only be summed up as Fawns of Love. Everything they’ve learned, every influence of its past fitted within one song that defers any notion of “sounds like” as a distant memory. The music, the vocal inflections, all with uniqueness and unbridled passion. Yes, the band makes leaps and bounds since its last offering Permanent but this right here is an album that cannot be contained.